Legal Malpractice Law Review

Legal Malpractice Law Review

Research, resources & expertise in the law governing lawyers

Category Archives: Proximate Cause

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NH: Legal Malpractice: The Innocent Guilty Plea (???)

Posted in Criminal Law, New Hampshire, Proximate Cause
Hilario v. Reardon, 158 N.H. 56 (2008). NH: Underlying Criminal Procedure, Guilty Plea Student Contributor: Peter J. Jannace FACTS: Plaintiff was indicted on various charges; he then entered into a plea arrangement with the State which provided that if he met certain conditions, including cooperating in other prosecutions, the State would petition for the suspension… Continue Reading

NY: Legal Malpractice for Failure to Cancel a Real Estate Contract?

Posted in Damages, New York, Proximate Cause
Bells v. Foster, 83 A.D.3d 876, 922 N.Y.S.2d 124 (2011) NY: Underlying Real Estate Contract Cancellation Student Contributor: Alexis Trezza Facts: Defendant represented plaintiff in a real estate action. Plaintiff (purchaser) entered into a contract for the sale of certain real property. She was given forty-five days in which to secure a mortgage. In the… Continue Reading

NC: Lawyer Immune from Malpractice Suit When Client was a Guilty Criminal

Posted in North Carolina, Proximate Cause
Belk v. Cheshire, 159 N.C. App. 325, 583 S.E.2d 700 (2003) NC: Underlying criminal defense matter Student Contributor: Nicholas Kingsbury Facts: Plaintiff hired an attorney to represent him in his federal charges of gambling and money laundering. As per an agreement the attorney reached with the federal prosecutor, the plaintiff would plead guilty, and forfeit… Continue Reading

NY: Attorney’s Selection of One Among Several Reasonable Courses of Action Is Not Malpractice

Posted in Damages, New York, Proximate Cause
Holschauer v. Fisher, 5 AD 3d 553 (2nd Dept. 2004) NY: Underlying Professional Misconduct Hearing Student Contributor: Mordechai Goldenberg Facts: Plaintiff is a physician who was charged with professional misconduct by the New York State Department of Health Office of Professional Medical Conduct. After the disciplinary hearing began, the defendant attorney negotiated a settlement with… Continue Reading

NY: Procedural Defect Yields Failure to Timely Commence an Action

Posted in New York, Proximate Cause, Statute of Limitations, Torts/Personal Injury
Wilk v. Lewis & Lewis, P.C., 75 A.D.3d 1063 (4th Dep’t 2010) NY: Underlying personal injury action Student Contributor: Zahava Schwartz Facts: The plaintiff was injured while repairing railroad cars. He hired defendant lawyers to handle this case against his employer. His lawyers did not commence the suit on time and he was time barred… Continue Reading

NY: Attorney’s Negligence in Real Estate Negotiation Leads to Malpractice Liability

Posted in New York, Privity, Proximate Cause, Real Estate
Malik v. Beal, 54 A.D.3d 910 (App. Div. 2d Dept. 2008) NY: Underlying negligent negotiation of a contract for real estate Student Contributor: Jared Levy Facts: Plaintiff Malik, as purchaser, entered into a contract with the seller to purchase certain multiuse commercial real property and improvements. The plaintiff retained the defendant attorney to negotiate the… Continue Reading

TX: No Causation in Malpractice Action = Summary Judgment

Posted in Criminal Law, Fiduciary Duty, Proximate Cause, Texas
Rodgers v. Weatherspoon, 141 SW 3d 342 (Tex. App. 2004) TX: Underlying criminal defense Student Contributor: Megan Diodato Facts:  The client was charged with aggravated assault and the attorney was appointed to represent him. The client filed motions to act on his own behalf and to dismiss attorney as his counsel. The attorney filed a… Continue Reading

WV: No Proximate Cause = No Damages

Posted in Damages, Proximate Cause, Real Estate, West Virginia
Keister v. Talbott, 182 W.Va. 745, 391 S.E.2d 895 (W.Va. 1990) WV: Underlying real estate conveyance (mineral rights) Student Contributor: Karen Dindayal Facts: Keister retained Webster County attorney, William Talbott, to examine title to two tracts of land, specifically the ownership of the surface and coal and mining rights. Talbot drafted a general warranty deed on… Continue Reading

AL: Legal Malpractice in a Legal Malpractice Action?

Posted in Alabama, Case Within a Case, Labor & Employent, Proximate Cause
Dennis v. Northcutt, 923 So.2d 275 (2005). AL: #1 Underlying employment discrimination action; #2 underlying legal malpractice action regarding #1. Student Contributor: Farah Shahidpour Facts: Client retained Attorney #1 to represent him in an employment discrimination action in federal district court, however, that action was dismissed. Client subsequently retained Attorney #2 to pursue a legal… Continue Reading

IL: Net Opinion on Causation Results in Dismissal

Posted in But for-Proximate Cause, Expert Witnesses, Illinois, Proximate Cause
Bourke v. Conger, US Ct. of Appels, 7th Circ., April 19, 2011.  Facts: Bourke was convicted of murder in Illinois state court, and after the conviction was turned over on appeal, filed malpractice claims against his defense attorneys. Bourker alleged that defense counsel’s voire dire of the jury fell below acceptable standards of care. Bourke’s… Continue Reading

VA: Client’s Failure to Timely File Won’t Sever Proximate Cause

Posted in Proximate Cause, Statute of Limitations
Williams v. Joynes, 278 Va. 57, 677 S.E.2d 261 (2009) VA: Underlying Personal Injury Claim Student Contributor: Vanessa L. Wachira Facts: In 2003, Leo Williams (Client) retained Louis Joynes, II and David Dildy (Attorneys) to represent him in a personal injury claim that stemmed from an automobile accident involving two other vehicles—one driven and owned… Continue Reading

NJ: Malpractice Court can Dismiss on Grounds Not Dismissed by Underlying Court

Posted in Case Within a Case, Labor & Employent, New Jersey, Proximate Cause
Beese-Munoz v. Barbone, Esq., N.J. App. Div.  (per curiam) Decided May 20, 2011). NJ Underlying Work Place Discrimination Claim Facts: In this legal malpractice case, plaintiff appeals from the order granting defendant’s summary judgment motion and dismissing her case. Plaintiff retained defendant to pursue her discrimination claims against the Lakehurst Naval Station and others. Her… Continue Reading

IL: Suicide as a Proximate Cause of Lawyer Malpractice? No Way!

Posted in Federal, Illinois, Proximate Cause
Cleveland v. Rotman, 297 F. 3d 569 (7th Cir. 2002) IL: Underlying tax advice Student Contributor: Clem Durham Facts: In 1996 Cleveland retained Rotman for advice in resolving the tax dispute. At the time, Cleveland’s therapist informed Rotman of Cleveland’s poor financial status, his severe depression, and his suicidal tendencies. Rotman advised Cleveland that he… Continue Reading

TX: If Conviction Not Overturned-No Malpractice Claim

Posted in Criminal Law, Proximate Cause, Texas
Alvarez v. Casita Maria Inc., 269 F. Supp. 2d 834 (N.D. Tex. 2003) TX: Underlying conviction for illegal reentry into the U.S. Student Contributor: Megan Diodato Facts:  The clients, illegal aliens, contacted Casita Maria, Inc. to arrange for immigration counseling services. In the course of that counseling, the clients met with multiple Casita employees, who… Continue Reading

WY: Establishing Proximate Cause

Posted in But for-Proximate Cause, Proximate Cause, Substantial Factor-Proximate Cause, Wyoming
Rivers v. Moore, Myers & Garland, LLC, Supreme Court of Wyoming, Appellate Division, July 28, 2010. Facts: Rivers alleged that the Defendants committed malpractice by failing to adequately warn him of the subject property’s development restrictions, and by delaying in taking action on his behalf to address those development issues. The trial court granted summary judgment… Continue Reading

NJ: Settle and Sue Continued, Puder Rejected

Posted in But for-Proximate Cause, Conflicts of Interest, Damages, New Jersey, Proximate Cause, Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs), Standard of Care, Substantial Factor-Proximate Cause
Gorjuice Wrap, Inc. v. Okin, Hollander & De Luca, LLP, N.J. App. Div., January 12, 2011 (Unpub.) Facts:  Kang retained Attorney Watkins to assist her in negotiating a commercial lease with the Talmos.  Unbeknownst to Kang, Watkins had been a longtime attorney for the Talmos.  In fact, he had represented them in their purchase of… Continue Reading

CT: Substantial Evidence Gets Lawyer Off the Hook

Posted in Case Within a Case, Connecticut, Land Use, Zoning, Proximate Cause, Real Estate
Viola v. O’Dell, 108 Conn. App. 760, 950 A.2d 539 (Conn. App. 2008) CT: Underlying zoning action Student Contributor: Laura Binski Facts: The client operated a landscaping business in the downtown business district zone. The client’s business involved the sale of landscaping equipment, but no retail sales occurred on site. Instead, customers would place orders… Continue Reading

MD: “Case within a Case,” the Golden Test for Proximate Cause

Posted in But for-Proximate Cause, Case Within a Case, Maryland, Proximate Cause, Substantial Factor-Proximate Cause
Suder v. Whiteford, Taylor & Peston, LLP, Court of Appeals of Maryland, April 9, 2010.  Facts:  Suder filed an action for legal malpractice against her former attorneys, alleging failure to timely file a request for a fifth extension which, ostensibly, caused her to receive approximately $270,000 less under a will than she otherwise would have.  The… Continue Reading

PA: Negligence, She Wrote…(but couldn’t prove)

Posted in Case Within a Case, Labor & Employent, Pennsylvania, Proximate Cause
Brock v. Owens, 532 A2d 1168 ( PA. 1987). PA: Underlying employment discrimination case Student Contributor: Laura Binski Facts: Brock (client) was a professor at Lincoln University. She believed she was the victim of race and gender discrimination, so she hired a lawyer. She first hired Kalemjian, but he withdrew from the case. Next, the… Continue Reading

PA: Collectibility of Damages: Defendant’s Burden

Posted in Damages, Defenses, Pennsylvania, Proximate Cause, Torts/Personal Injury
Kituskie v. Corbman, 452 Pa.Super. 467, 682 A.2d 378 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1996) PA Underlying Representation: Personal Injury Lawsuit Student Contributor: John Anzalone Facts: Plaintiff sued Defendant Attorney and his law firm for failing to file a personal injury action within the statute of limitations. Plaintiff prevailed below after the judge excluded evidence of the… Continue Reading

PA: Proximate Cause = Case Within a Case

Posted in Case Within a Case, Pennsylvania, Proximate Cause, Torts/Personal Injury
Williams v. Bashman, 457 F. Supp. 322 (E.D. Pa. 1978)  PA: Underlying  tort action. Student Contributor: Colleen Gaedcke Facts: The plaintiff retained the defendant, a partner at the defendant law firm, to represent her in her personal injury case against the a homeowner and the city of Philadelphia. A year passed without any communication between… Continue Reading

Collectability: An Essential Element of Proximate Cause

Posted in New Jersey, Proximate Cause
Chimento v. Parsons, Powell & Lane, LLC, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, January 5, 2010 Facts:  Plaintiff brought suit against a casino after his chair collapsed and, allegedly, caused him to sustain back and shoulder injuries.  Although Plaintiff’s attorney in the underlying matter sued the casino for negligent maintenance, he failed to assert a… Continue Reading

NY: The Delicate Balance Between Proximate Cause and Collateral Estoppel

Posted in But for-Proximate Cause, New York, Proximate Cause, Torts/Personal Injury
Pechko v. Gendelman,  20 A.D.3d 404; 799 N.Y.S.2d 80 (2nd Dept. 2005) NY Underlying Medical Malpractice Action Student Contributor: Natalie Resto Facts: The plaintiff underwent a mammogram while a patient with Doctor #1, who, she claimed, told her that the mammogram was normal. Later that year she underwent a mammogram with Doctor #2 and was… Continue Reading